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  CNN    CNN Newsroom    News/Business. Latest on the day's top news stories  
   with a focus on global news, trends and destinations. New.  

    December 28, 2012
    8:00 - 9:00am PST  

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hi, everybody. so glad you're with us today. i'm alina cho. let's get started. four days before the fiscal cliff. four hours before a last-ditch meeting at the white house. it's still not clear whether a last-minute deal is even possible or whether this is now all about shifting blame. president obama and vice president biden are sitting down with house leaders. the guest list includes harry reid, who this time yesterday said he didn't see any way the fiscal cliff could be avoided. whatever the case, our chief white house correspondent jessica yellin will be watching. what can we really expect to come out of this meeting this afternoon? >> well, alina, we're not sure what really will come out of it.
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the ideal scenario would be if all sides agree to a scaled-down version of the fiscal cliff agreement that the president and spe speaker boehner had been discussing weeks ago and then senator mcconnell would agree that no republicans would block it in any way if he can promise that. he argues that he can't really make that promise but if e he could then speaker boehner would promise to bring it to a vote on the floor. all sides would shake hands and we'd have a deal before new year's. that seems highly unlikely. but that's what all sides are pushing for today. >> i think we can all agree that tax rates are the biggest sticking point. so what specific issues are your sources saying that they might actually address in this meeting today besides tax rates? could they talk about unemployment benefits, spending cuts, what's expected to come up today? >> this is the -- the specific
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details of the proposal could include in addition to tax rates, as you point out, an extension of unemployment benefits. the amt fix, the alternative minimum tax would be patched for another year. and medicare doctor payments, preventing pay cut s s to medic providers. and the question that republicans are asking is would the president and democrats be willing to include some way to avert an estate tax hike and would democrats be willing to find a way to pay r for extending unemployment benefits. those are unknowns and we expect that will be something they will bring up at that meeting. again, not too much optimism that even if those issues get resolved, all of this gets through the house and senate before new year's but we can always hope. >> i think i know the answer, but i'm going to ask it. you mean to tell me they have
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not sat down at the white house or anywhere together since mid-november? i mean, why so long? >> well, the argument is that they all know basically what the deal would be because their staffs have argued this out so many times during the debt talks, for example, of last summer. so the principles say if they can just make agreement on those big top line issues that we talked about in that graphic, then the staffs can negotiate the other smaller points. but the devil is in the details. they are using the details to hold up any kind of a deal and it looks like that could take us over the cliff. >> that's right because there's too many details still to be worked out. jessica yellin, thank you very much. democrats appeared to have accomplished one thing in their first day back from a shortened holiday recess. they shamed the republican
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leaders into calling their members back on sunday. radio correspondent lisa joins me from capitol hill, which is generally deserted this time of year. great to see you apart from their vast disagreements, we now have procedural hangups? what's going on with that? >> absolutely. as you know, the senate operates and lives and breathes procedure. this is one of the problems that faces the fiscal cliff deal. a filibuster could arise. you and jessica were talking about that. the hope for any deal before january 1st is that somehow minority leader mitch mcconnell could convince his troops, convince the republicans not to block it with a filibuster. each individual senator makes up their own mind, each senator has the right to stage a filibuster. so that's not something he can control entirely. a bigger issue, though, i have to edadmit, when you look at
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senator mcconnell and why he's so important right now is that he needs to bring some republicans on board this deal for a couple reasons. first, they need those republican votes to get anything through the senate. and then second of all, speaker boehner needs some cover, he needs some way to convince republicans in the house that they should pass this deal. conservatives are putting pressure on all sides and republicans in the house want to be to say conservativings in the senate supported this. i can too for the good of the country even though i don't like it. these are the dynamics in play. a lot of politics, a lot at stake. and this is why all focus is on senator mcconnell because he can bring so much to the table potentially but even for him, it may not be easy. >> one thing we have forgotten in all the talks about the details and working those out is january 1st really isn't the only big looming deadline. the 112th congress disbands. so what is that going to do to the fiscal cliff negotiations?
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>> right, there are a couple deadli deadlines actually coming up. january 2nd is the last day of the current congress. any bill that's been submitted, especially the bills that have been passed, the deal with the fiscal cliff, those bills would be worthless. they would go into paper and everything would have to start from scratch. the new congress would have to start a bill and start the process from the beginning. now there are some tricks that congress has to try to speed things up when it wants to. so to some degree, it's not that big of a deal. if there was a deal in the offing, january 3rd, enough votes for it, they could get around the hurdles. but i'm glad you brought up the deadlines because another one is tomorrow. unemployment benefits run out tomorrow for 1 million people. not true. the unemployment portion of the fiscal cliff actually hits us tomorrow. and that's when 1 million people are estimated to see
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unemployment benefits run out. and tomorrow is also the day that the house will return. i know we said that democrats shamed the house into come iing back, but house republicans would say they have been waiting for an offer from democrats in order to come back and that kind of gets to the finger pointing here. both sides are looking to each other and the fact is these lawmakers were elected to make tough decisions and they haven't been able to do it it yet. >> if i may say so, it's also childish. thank you. the longest-serving member of congress from massachusetts is the first to announce he'll run for john kerry's senate seat. ed markey was just elected to his 19th term with 76% of the vote. kerry, as you know, is president obama's pick to succeed hillary clinton as secretary of state. if and when he's confirmed, that
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senate job will pass to a replacement chosen by the massachusetts governor. then to a win ere of a special election a few months later. a regular election will be held in 2014 when kerry's term would have ended. should teachers be armed in the classroom? big question, lots of answers. about 200 educators in utah are mulling that over today after attending classes on firearm use and safety. the course of geared toward teachers. instructors are not trying to persuade teachers to carry guns in schools, but to provide the information and training they need in the wake of the newtown massacre. the classes have been going on for some time and some teachers are sold on the idea of arming themselves. others simply want to explore their options. >> i think it's important to have protection because if you don't have it, i feel like we're
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sitting ducks. >> we're going to help them understand where their moral code and value system really is. until they discover that, they are not prepared to carry a firearm. >> utah already allows teachers to carry concealed weapons in schools. for the second time this month, a man has been shoved to his death from a subway platform in new york city. it happened last night in queens. police and witnesses say a woman who had been pacing and mumbling pushed a man in front of the number 7 train before running down two flights of stairs and on to the street. surveillance video caught part of that escape. witnesses say they will never forget it. >> it was horrible. >> the scream, the final scream i don't know what happened. it was a really creepy yell. >> they need to slow the trains down to 15 miles an hour when they are coming into the station
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so if something like that does happen, they have time to stop the train. >> last night's suspect is still on the loose. the suspect in the fatal subway shove earlier this month is in custody charged with second-degree murder. ( ♪ ) for those nights when it's more than a bad dream, be ready. for the days when you get a sudden call from the school, be ready. for the times you need to double-check the temperature on the thermometer, be ready. when you have children's motrin on hand, you're ready.
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with odor free aspercreme. powerful medicine relieves pain fast, with no odor. so all you notice is relief. aspercreme. care are furious after they were told their children were mistreated by child care providers. two of the caregivers have been arrested. 30 of them actually have a history of assault, drugs, sexual assault and other crimes on their background checks. but what makes it worse is that this child care facility is on a military base, a military base
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in nearby virginia catering to military families. it took a phone call from president obama for authorities to take action. our pentagon correspondent barbara starr interviewed one of the moms whose child was alle allegedly mistreated. >> all along this first week when we were being given peace meal information, denied access to videotapes, we were being asked if we wanted to seek medical care for our child. for what, obviously. we wanted to understand and see with our own eyes since that evidence was available. >> barbara starr joins me now from washington. good morning, great to see you. when a terrible story. curious to know, how was this able to go on for so long with nobody blowing the whistle on it? >> this is really the question. let's start with the point that this young mother doesn't want her face shown because she
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doesn't want her children identified. one is the subject of abuse. she doesn't want her husband to be subject to retaliation. that's the climate we're talking about here. the actual abuse, the allegations, all happened back in september. but that phone call from president obama didn't come until december 14th because the leadership at the pentagon didn't know anything about this until mid-december. that's when the secretary of the army found out. that's when the secretary of defense found out. they ordered a broader investigation. it came to the president's attention. it is a very rare thing for the president to call over to the pentagon and have to say, what is going on? >> and i'm curious about that. how did that even get on the president's desk? how did he get involved in a day care situation on a military base? >> this is mid-december and this is when the country's focus was on child safety after the
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massacre and the tragedy in newtown, connecticut. the secretary of defense leon panetta finds out about all this because finally army leaders know the facts and are able to tell him. e he take s it to the president. but it's between late september and mid-december that they keep investigating the other workers here and find those background check problems and they are not dismissed from their jobs between september and mid-december. this goes on and on and on. all of this now the subject of a complete army investigation. >> barbara starr, we're glad you're looking into it. you can watch barbara's entire report tonight at 7:00 p.m. eastern. barbara, thank you. former president george h.w. bush may be battling a fever, but he's certainly showing grit and some humor.
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in a message to supporters, mr. bush's chief of staff says the 41st president's condition is not dire. she says mr. bush has every intention of staying put and that we can put the harps back in the closet. that's my favorite part. the family says they are confident he will be out of the hospital soon. certainly hope so. at 88 years old he's the oldest living former president. let me just start by saying -- >> general norman schwarzkopf has died. he was the face of the persian gulf war, operation desert storm. leading a lightning fast ground assault that lasted just 100 hours. imagine that. his televised briefings became a staple of the war and made him a household name. he was already a decorated commander in vietnam. he retired with four stars after taking over the u.s. central command.
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defense secretary leon panetta calls him one of the great military giants of the 20th century. he died after complications from pneumonia. he was 78 years old. in india, growing demonstrations after a woman was gang raped on a bus in gnu deli. she's fighting for her life in singapore. doctors say she has taken a turn for the worse and her vital signs are deteriorating. meanwhile protesters are growing angrier over the number of rapes in new delly. six expects have been arrested. protesters want tougher laws for rape and crimes against women. there were 572 reported rapes just last year and more than 600 reported so far this year. americans may no long er be
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able to adopt children from russia. president vad vladimir putin signed a bill today. >> translator: the vast majority of russian citizens are very negative about foreigners adopting our children. we need to do it our oust ourselves. we need ourselves to stimulate, bringsing to the family orphans or those left without parental care. >> the law which goes into effect around the corner on january 1st could affect hundreds of american families seeking to adopt or on the palt to adoption because this will affect future adoptions and those currently in progress. 1,000 russian children were adopted by americans just last year. putin's move is seen as retaliation for a new u.s. law that imposes travel and financial restrictions on russians who have carried out human rights violations. the state department released this statement in reaction to
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the law. "we deeply regret russia's passage of a law ending inter-country adoptions between the u.s. and russia and restricting russian civil society organizations that work with american partners. the russian government's politically-motivated decision will reduce adoption possibilities for children who are now under institutional care. we regret that the russian government has taken this step and are further concerned about statements that adoptions already underway may be stopped." i have a cold, and i took nyquil, but i'm still stubbed up. [ male announcer ] truth is, nyquil doesn't unstuff your nose. what? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus liquid gels speeds relief to your worst cold symptoms plus has a decongestant for your stuffy nose. thanks. that's the cold truth!
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citi price rewind. tyeah, its the galaxy note ii.re great. you can do two things at the same time. you can watch videos and text. or you could watch the earnings report and take notes, like we're supposed to. so... can i get it? yeah. okay either of you put together the earnings report yet? yes, me totally. what? why don't you tackle the next quarter. you eat yet? polynesian? pu pu platter? yup! keep up the good work. i will keep up the good work. do more with the new samsung galaxy note ii.
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the 2012 political season was filled with memorable mom t moments. clint east wood talking to an empty chair and the legitimate rape comments to name a few. candy crowley looks at the top stories of the year. >> it's like finding your favorite grain of sand on the beach. there are an impossible number of possibilities. flr there are the moments when catch phrases become boomerangs. when cast members stole the spotlight. >> i'm an american woman who uses contraception. >> it's like an etch a sketch, you can shake it it up and we start all over again. >> and a fair number of moments ranging from ridiculous to
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inexplicable. >> i think it's called romnesia. >> if i were to coin a term, it would be obamaloga. >> it was seen at the time as a proxy race for november. scott walker in a showdown with organized labor over budget cuts and collective bargaining power. turns out the end result was no bell weather for the presidential race. walker won, the first governor to survive a recall election. >> another nod to a republican governor. >> i cannot thank the president enough for his personal concern and compassion for our state and for the people of our state. >> new jersey governor chris christie's response came days before the election and had no
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noticeable effect on the presidential race, but some republicans think christie didn't have to be that e fusive. they will remember if his name pops up in 2016. >> if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down. >> from the say what category of entries comes a combo team. todd akin and richard mourdock of indiana. >> life is a gift from god. even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something that god intended to happen. >> republican dreams to take control of the senate in 2012 had dwindled throughout the year but akin and mourdock shut that door in a couple of sentences. >> two words from mitt romney during a primary reverberated through to november. the issue was his plan to prevent employers from hiring undocumented workers e. >> people who have come here illegally won't be able to find work and those people would
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leave the country. >> the concept of self-deportation by undocumented workers was not by itself responsible for romney's dismal showing among hispanics but it surely greased the skids. >> also in the cat fwoir of moments where romney wanted a mulligan there was this. >> 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims. >> romney called his remarks completely wrong. they also caused the deepest self-inflicted wound of the election. >> on the flip side -- >> he's going to be the next vice president of the united states. >> romney's vp day may have been the best moment. the selection of paul ryan excited conservatives in a way romney himself had not. >> how many moments are there in an hour and a half? the president lost all of them in the first debate. the pictures tell the story of a man who phoned it in, panicking
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his supporters and providing an opening for romney. and finally the top three moments of the election best described as history-making politics. >> a supreme court decision upholding the constitutionality of obama care. consider what would have happened on the campaign trail if the high court had struck down the president's signature first-term achievement. >> at a certain point, i have concluded that for e me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that i think same-sex couples should be able to get married. >> the first president to endorse same-sex marriage. good politics aimed at the base and most certainly history. >> and finally the number one political moment of the year is easy during elections. >> cnn projects that barack obama will be reelected
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president of the united states. >> we are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. we are and forever will be the united states of america. >> cue the confetti and then say good-bye to 2012 and all its moments. historical and hysterical. candy crowley, cnn, washington. >> join don lemon for the biggest stories of the year in crime, politics, money and entertainment. the top ten airs sunday night at 8:00 eastern only on cnn. as the year counts down, your savings can add up with the adt new year's sale. help protect your family with the advanced technology of adt starting at just $99 -- a savings of $300 plus 15% off accessories. but you must call before midnight january 2nd. more than a security system,
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every 19 minutes someone dies of a drug overdose. most are not from elicit drugs but ones that are perfectly legal drugs prescribed to millions of americans. our chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta explains. >> reporter: i rode along with craig a min. he will tell you when he takes an overdose call, the usual suspect is a painkiller. >> what sort of impact have you seen here in seattle? >> if you pull a group of people together from this community, someone in that group is going to have had a friend, a loved one that's either had difficulty with a prescription drug or potentially died from that. >> reporter: the unit responds to 45 calls a month for overdee overdeess. this is important. it can be difficult to tell if
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it's a painkiller or heroin because they come from the same ingredient and do the same sort of thing to your body. >> aside from needle tracks in the arms, someone who has had an overdose of pain medication like that or heroin, they could look very much the same. >> absolutely. they could be unconscious from a medication that they think is relatively safe for them because instead of getting it on the street, they get it from a pharmacist. >> these people are suffering from chronic pain. they know that a little bit of pain medication helps. so maybe a lot would help a lot more. >> reporter: when we arrive another medic is on the scene. >> somewhere in that parking garage there was a call of someone having an overdose. >> reporter: the victim came to and walked away. but while we're there, another call. it's been just a few minutes. >> dr. sanjay gupta revealed
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startling truths about how easy it is to take that deadly dose. that and much more saturday afternoon at 4:30 eastern and sunday morning at 7:30 right here on cnn. [ cellphone chirping ] [ buzzing ] bye dad. drive safe. k. love you. [ chirping, buzzing continues ] [ horn honks ] [ buzzing continues ]
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we have this news just into
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c cnn. in the ongoing dispute over our nation's ports and a possible strike, we have just learned that both sides have resolved the royalties question and they have agreed to another 30 days of negotiation for other issues. what that means bottom line is there will be no strike at more than a dozen east ports for a month. amid-the fallout that a plunge off the fiscal cliff would bring, there is this this. a tax break that has saved st g struggling homeowners from paying thousands of dollars to the irs. that's set to expire. alison kosik is at the new york stock exchange to explain this. so what is this all about? >> first of all, this would affect anyone who foreclosures on their home or who sells their home as what's known as a short sale. that's when you sell your home at a loss but avoid foreclosure. this could involve up to a million people. this is about a law put in place in 2007 called the mortgage forgiveness debt relief act.
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let's say you sell your house for $100,000 but your mortgage is $150,000. you normally have to pay taxes on the remaining $50,000. this law excuses homeowners from paying that tax. this law is expiring in a few days as part of the fiscal cliff. if congress does nothing, homeowners selling at a loss will have a big tax bill to deal with. it could be in the tens of thousands of dollars. it it comes at a time when they can least afford it. >> how are the markets doing today with all the news about the fiscal cliff and going over it being a possibility? >> markets are selling off just a bit. the dow is down 75 points. with rumors of congress coming back into session over the weekend, we did see the markets turn around a bit yesterday. now the selloff continues. there's just not a lot of confidence that a deal can get done. the reason you're seeing the dow down 76 points. >> all right, alison kosik at
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the new york stock exchange. thank you. chicago reached a dubious milestone overnight. a shooting victim on the west side became the city's 500th homicide of the year. police say the 40-year-old man was shot in the head outside a convenience store. no arrests were made. chicago has been struggling for decades to overcome an epidemic of gun violence. this year's figures are 17% higher than last year. but it's still just half the murder rate of 20 years ago. according to chicago police statistics, 943 homicides were recorded in 1992. in suburban st. louis, let's just say an alleged shoplifter picked the wrong store on the wrong day. it happened shortly before christmas. the man was trying to leave with stolen liquor and got into a scuffle with a female worker. just at that point, professional kick boxer and marshall artist
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jesse finney walked into the store and saw the commotion and took action. >> i'm still trying to fight me and saying choice words. he wasn't getting up, i can promise you that. i was like just chill out, relax. i'm not going to hurt you. the police are on their way. you're going to get arrested. >> he owns a store in the area. authorities plan to haul a 60-foot whale carcus into the dunes for burial. that whale washed ashore at breezy point in queens two days ago. despite efforts to save the animal, it didn't make it. it was just too weak and too thin e. marine biologists have not yet determined why it died. wow. it's the honey, it makes it taste so...
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well, would you look at the time... what's the rush? be happy. be healthy. ?o what's the rush? ( ♪ ) for those nights when it's more than a bad dream, be ready.
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for the days when you get a sudden call from the school, be ready. for the times you need to double-check the temperature on the thermometer, be ready. when you have children's motrin on hand, you're ready. for high fever, nothing works faster or lasts longer than children's motrin. be ready with children's motrin.
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you may have heard of the fiscal cliff described as a self-inflicted wound, a manufactured crisis. that just means it didn't come out of the blue. the bottom line is this. whatever happens we have done it to ourselves. cnn's ali velshi shows us how we got here. >> now we have passed a bold package of tax relief for
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america's families and businesses. >> it starts more than a decade ago when president bush initiated a series of tax cuts for all americans. but it's a deal with with the devil. the cuts, which are politically expedient but costly to government, expire in ten year's time. >> both houses of congress have passed tax relief that will protect the middle class. >> when it came time for the cuts to expire, the u.s. was emerging from the worst recession since the great depression. so president obama agreed to extend the tax cuts for two more years in exchange for congress extending federal emergency unemployment benefits. those cuts are expensive. if they are extended by 2020, the bush era tax cuts will be responsible for more than half the total national debt. democrats insist that taxes go up for the wealthy but stay in place permanently for those earning less than $250,000 a
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year. >> we need to stop the job killing tax hikes and we need to start cutting spending now. >> republicans refuse to play ball. they say no higher rates on the rich, no tax hikes on anyone. based on an ideology that calls on government to be as small as possible. its roots are as old as american politics, but the philosophies main spokesman is this man, grover norquist, president of americans for tax reform. his pledge signed by almost all republicans in congress forbid signatories from raising taxes ever under any circumstances. things come to ahead in the summer of 2011. they demand they reduce deficit as a condition for raising the debt ceiling. without a deal shs the u.s. would lose its ability to borrow money. republicans and democrats deploy tactics that shut down the government and ultimately cost america its aaa credit raid raiting for the first time in history.
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in a last-minute compromise, both sides agree to a trillion dollars in spending cuts up front and another $1.2 trillion in cuts to be decided by a special super committee. but a poison pill was attached. if the super committee can't reach a deal, automatic across-the-board cuts known as the sequester would go into effect starting january 2013. at the exact moment when the bush tax cuts extended for two years, if you remember, would expire. the point is we could have all seen this coming. some of us did. we yelled but we were drown out by the election. it seems common sense and good governance get drown out by endless and continuous elections in america. this time there may be a serious price to pay for it. >> keep it here today. at the white house president obama will meet with with democratic and republican leaders of congress. that's at 3:00 p.m. eastern
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time. it's their first face-to face fiscal discussions since before thanksgiving. hopes are not high for a deal, but either way, you'll hear the news first here on cnn.
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there's no doubt about it. eva longoria is one of hollywood's leading ladies, a big star with a big heart for charitable giving, focusing on
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one very close to her heart. >> i'm being pulled in a million different directions with supporting aids in africa or sex trafficking in thailand or dolphins in japan. and you can't do everything. so in thinking what do i really want to do? >> reporter: to answer that question, you could say eva longoria looked in the mirror. >> i knew i wanted it to be with women and in the latina community. >> reporter: known for playing the vixen on "desperate housewives" longoria had humble beginnings born to mexican-american parents. >> i wasn't the first to go to college. >> it wasn't a walk in the park. you had to work. >> i was flipping burgers, i was an assistant to a dentist,
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worked in a car shop, i was definitely a work study. >> reporter: 17% of latinas drop out of high school. fewer than half of adult latinas hold college degrees. so in 2010 she started a foundation focusing on helping latinas get a college education. >> i just have to smooz with them. >> reporter: on the day we meet up with her at this high school in los angeles, she's the keynote speaker at a graduation for parents. >> everyone here is taking a stand for their child. >> reporter: her foundation is helping to fund piqe. >> it's a program parents can take in order to help them navigate the institution of schools. it's not easy. i've sat with a lot of these parents before the program and they didn't know what a transcript looked like. they didn't know what a gpa was meant. >> reporter: children of parents who graduate are guaranteed admission to one of several schools in the cal state university system.
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provided they meet the basic requirements. like wanda martinez. >> i only went to the limited school. >> reporter: she graduated so her daughter, ail halejandra co have a better future. >> we need to be an educated community. >> reporter: something longoria has talked about a lot on the campaign trail and now as a co-chair of president obama's inaugural committee. >> reporter: are you nervous? >> i'm very nervous. >> reporter: what will you wear? >> who knows? i don't know. >> reporter: politics and philanthropy, making a difference in both. >> i'm funding these programs because i believe in them. i think it's important that you yourself as a role model, as a philanthropist, as an activist, that you yourself give out of your back pocket. i would give my shirt off before i would ask you to give yours. ♪ everybody well don't you know it's me now? ♪
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♪ yeah who's it, who's it huh? ♪ ♪ willy's back with a brand new beat now, ♪ ♪ yeah doin' it doin' it up! ♪ heyyy yeah, tryin' to bite my style! ♪ ♪ heyyy yeah, how you like me now? ♪ ♪ na na na na na na na na ♪ and everybody go uh!
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the space shuttle atlantis has flown millions of miles over several decades, helping nasa reach new heights. and it will make headlines again, but this time just 25 feet off the ground. atlantis's last flight was in july of 2011. it was also the last of nasa's historic shuttle program, end of an era. the next time the public sees the spacecraft, it will be housed in a special museum at kennedy space center in florida. a grand opening is set for this
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summer, and who else would be there but our own john zarrella to bring us up to date on the project. whoa, do you look good. now, let me get this straight, john. this is a 180-foot-tall shuttle. it weighs more than 152,000 pounds. and it's shrink wrapped in plastic right now? >> reporter: yeah, it is. and you know, for the viewers out there, if you don't recognize what's there behind me, that's atlantis. in 16,000 feet of shrink wrap in order to protect it. you know, i've got the hard hat on. we're right here inside. there's guys working, building the museum around the shuttle atlantis as we speak, working nearly 24/7 to get ready for that grand opening. and you see the angle, alina, of how it is displayed here, supported on giant supports. that's a 43 1/2-degree angle. it is the angle that the shuttle would fly in space. and tim macy is joining us here
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today. and tim, as director of the project development for this exhibit here, and tim, i know you left one of the doors open in order to get atlantis in when you rolled it over here in early november. that had to be some feat getting it inside here. >> well, the wall, the whole back wall is about 82 1/2 feet wide. the wingspan here is a little over 80. so it was touch and go. you came around the big turn, pulled in, backed it up a little bit, then came right where it was supposed to be. there's a pretty funny story. there's about 50 of us left, when it finally came in and hit the spot at the end of the day. it got very quiet. all the machines turned off. and i heard this one guy yell out, "i told you it would fit." >> reporter: that was you. >> that was me. very tight space, but it's really going to be a great way to present this to the public. >> reporter: i know a lot of viewers are wondering, okay, can i touch the shuttle? can i go inside the shuttle? >> no, very few people besides those that have worked on it and flown it and maybe an
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occasional -- occasional anchor have been on the inside. it's a priceless artifact. we can't let you touch it. we'll get you really, really close. and we've actually taken out pieces of the shuttle itself like the toilet and the living quarters and that will be on display. you can get a hands-on feel for that. we're going to actually let you see what it's like to go to bathroom in space. >> reporter: oh, joy. thanks, tim. we appreciate you taking time to be with us. and alina, so you can see, july this will be the grand opening here. and it's a $100 million facility. 90,000 square feet that they are building all around the shuttle. and i tell you what. i mean, it's really strange looking at it in shrink wrap. i've seen boats going down the highway -- i'm sure you have and a lot of viewers have -- wrapped in this kind of material. but the first time i've ever seen a space shuttle in shrink wrap. alina? >> yeah. it's incredible. i know you've seen many of them. i've actually been to cape canaveral to see a shuttle launch at night. the skylights up, for people who don't know, like it's the middle
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of the day. it's incredible. >> reporter: yeah. >> and it's great that people will be able to see that come july. john, thank you. "atlantis" lifted off on its first mission back on october 3rd, 1985. ultimately it flew 33 times to space. and it joins the other two shuttles on permanent display at the smithsonian in d.c. and the california science center in los angeles. also another story we want to bring you out of florida. just check this out. unwelcome visitor at a picnic area in the everglades. look at that. family on vacation from arkansas took this video after a 17-foot burmese python was shot and killed by park rangers. the giant snakes, many of them former pets, have become a big, big, big nuisance in south florida. next month florida game officials will hold a hunting contest offering a $15,000 prize to the person who kills the most pythons. all right, let's turn from
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snakes to flakes. the massive storm that's been causing huge problems since christmas day is finally over. maine was the last to deal with it. some places got a foot of fresh snow, but it's not over yet. meteorologist chad myers is in the cnn weather center with a look at that. so chad, you know, i thought when this storm came through, all right, fine. it wasn't so great. lots of snow. >> right. >> but it's over. not over yet. >> no, not over yet. and another one coming on its heels. and i thought you were going to say let's go from snakes to chad. so i'm glad you went from snakes to flakes. that kind of padded it just a little bit. thank you. >> i would have never said something like that. >> 65% of the u.s. right now covered in snow. all of last year, the best we could do was 48% in february of it covered with snow. so that storm you talked about has really covered up the east coast and the central part of the plains with good snow. good snow that we're going to use later on either to melt, get some water in the mississippi river, because it's at record